Friday, March 07, 2008


Republicans try on Democratic drag

As you've probably heard, Vermont held its Democratic primary last week along with Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island. A friend who participated sent me an email that I wanted to share. It contained some good news—

I'm writing you to say that I enjoy your blog immensely and send you the latest news from Vermont. We've voted to indict Bush and Cheney. presumably they will be arrested should they set foot in Brattleboro or Marlboro (home of my alma mater and workplace).

And an interesting first-hand account of Republican attempts to sabotage the Democrats—

While waiting in line to cast my vote, I was surprised to overhear someone on their cellphone say, "I did it, I voted for the bitch." This is a small town and I'm familiar enough with this man to know that he's got Bush/Cheney '04 stickers on his truck. I mean *maybe* I can forgive a confused 2000 voter but '04?

As I stood there experiencing that queasy feeling that accompanies cognitive dissonance, I remembered a conversation which took place during a coffee break yesterday in which my evangelical Christian, conservative Republican coworker said, "I didn't ever think I would say this but I'll be voting for Hillary." I wanted to press him further but something interrupted the break and I didn't see him for the rest of the day.

Suddenly it dawned on me that they were trying to tamper with the Democratic primary in some ill-advised plan based on the idea that Obama polls better against McCain than does Clinton. Just when I thought I was as jaded and cynical as I'd ever be, I feel naive all over again. Or maybe I'm just paranoid basing my suspicion or two random quotes.

When I got home I couldn't resist, I sat down at my computer and typed, "republicans vote hillary" into Google and there it was: marching orders from Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, et al to do just as I imagined while standing in that line.

Ten minutes later, I read that Obama wins Vermont. Woohoo!

Yes, it's true. Republicans really are crossing over to support Hillary's nomination. It's been rumored, but this is the first actual account I've come upon.

This got me thinking about cross-voting, which is a form of cross-dressing.

By now you must have at least heard of cross-dressing even if you haven't tried it yourself. The Free Dictionary defines it as "To dress in the clothing characteristic of the opposite sex." But that is really too limited. Cross-dressing is to dress in the clothing of anyone you're not—and by extension to pretend to be someone you're not. Streetwise the phrase is "to go in drag." So we might say, for instance, something such as "George Bush attended a barbecue in cowboy drag."

There are many reasons for this behavior—some benign, others not—but one of them is as a "joke." In the little hell-hole where I grew up, there was an annual "beauty contest" in which the highschool football players were required to dress as women to entertain the assembled townspeople—it was a fundraiser, if I remember right. Later those boys grew up to be Republicans. I believe that one night of frolic scarred their psyches, and I shudder to think what now hangs in their closets.

And it was as a "joke" that Republican Presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani appeared in drag on "Saturday Night Live" in 1997. His talent was evident. But now he says that was his downfall—

My mistake was years ago when I hosted this show and wore a dress. The Florida plan was solid, but the dress killed me.

So a word of warning to Republican cross-voters who would pretend to be Democrats: You may think this is a joke, but the aftereffects can be long and lasting. "Friends" like Limbaugh and Coulter tell you it will be okay. But voting Democratic for the first time can be like a hit of crack. First you do it as a joke, then suddenly you're hooked.

This time you voted for Hillary. But come November, no one will know what you're doing in that voting closet. Will you control the urge? Or will you find yourself voting for Obama? Think!—before it's too late.


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